Trump is Deprived of His Twitter Replacement, What's Next?

Mish

After being booted from Twitter, Trump supporters turned to Parler but Amazon pulled the plug on hosting its web.

Parler Goes Dark

Parler's partners yanked the plug, accusing it of hosting violent content that contributed to last week’s Capitol Hill riot.

As a result, the Platform Favored by Trump Fans Struggles for Survival.

Parler launched in 2018 as a freewheeling social-media site for users fed up with the rules on Facebook and Twitter, and it quickly won fans from supporters of President Trump. On Monday, it went dark, felled by blowback over its more permissive approach.  

Amazon.com Inc. abruptly ended web-hosting services to the company, effectively halting its operations, prompting Parler to sue Amazon in Seattle federal court. Other tech partners also acted, crippling operations. 

Driving the decision was last week’s mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. On the afternoon of the riot, Amazon warned executives from Parler it had received reports the social-media platform was hosting “inappropriate” content, and that Parler had 24 hours to address it.

Within two days of that correspondence, Amazon announced it was booting Parler from its cloud platform, joining Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. in pulling the plug on the service. Other vendors turned their backs, too: Twilio Inc. cut off Parler’s two-factor authentication system, preventing it from weeding out fake new accounts, and Okta Inc. locked Parler out of key enterprise software tools.

On Dec. 14, Amazon flagged four posts to Parler, saying the content “clearly encourages or incites people to commit violence against others,” which was a violation of its terms of service, according to an email reviewed by the Journal. One of the posts calling for violence was from Nov. 16. Another, from early December, included comments such as: “My wishes for a racewar have never been higher. I find myself thinking about killing n—s and jews more and more often.”

Apple told Parler it received numerous complaints that the platform had been used to organize the assault on the Capitol and was being used to organize future violence. Its list of evidence began with a link to Sleeping Giants’ feed, which had screenshots of posts from influencers such as pro-Trump lawyer L. Lin Wood calling for firing squads to shoot Mr. Pence to an account with few followers calling for people to bring their weapons to the nation’s capital on Jan 19.

Daily News Take

The Daily News reports Parler Sues Amazon After App is Suspended by Web Service.

“AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus,” the lawsuit said. “It is also apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter.”

Google and Apple, meanwhile, have removed Parler from their app stores.

“When Twitter announced two evenings ago that it was permanently banning President Trump from its platform, conservative users began to flee Twitter en masse for Parler,” the new 18-page complaint obtained by the Daily News states.

“The exodus was so large that the next day... Parler became the number one free app downloaded from Apple’s App Store,” the paperwork claims.

Parler accused Amazon of a double standard, scoffing at the company’s claim it decided to take action because it was “not confident Parler could properly police its platform regarding content that encourages or incites violence against others.”

Amazon, meanwhile, said in a Saturday email to Parler that it found 98 examples of “posts that clearly encourage and incite violence.”

The email, filed as an exhibit to the lawsuit, included a screenshot of one such post where a Parler user threatened starting “civil war 2″ last Wednesday and shooting a “damn bullet” in the heads of “dirty left” Democrats.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” the letter from AWS said. “It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service.”

Not a Free Speech Issue

Free speech does not extend to those promoting killing, hanging politicians, promoting violence, etc.

This is not a free speech issue. 

But what about an antitrust violation?

Q&A on Parler

The Fox news clip above says there is collusion, but this antitrust Q&A believes otherwise.

Q: Google and Apple have both pulled Parler from its app stores and Amazon stopped hosting it. Is this the end of Parler?

A: "It is gonna be a long difficult slog to get back because there was very little notice. They basically had 24 hours to find new servers, so that makes it very difficult for them to operate. Now they're off the app stores, and that is a major hurdle to overcome. So, they're in trouble." 

Q: Parler is suing Amazon, on grounds of anti-trust laws. Does it have a strong legal leg to stand on? 

A: "Well, they are saying that they were unfairly booted over politics and antitrust matters. The antitrust part of it might be difficult because it's not like Parler was competing with them directly. Amazon and Parler are in two different universes, so that might be a tough sell. Certainly, it's too early to see how a judge would react, but it is one step that they can take to express their frustration with Amazon and perhaps at some point they can come to an agreement as to how they might work together. Amazon has said that the problem is they feel that Parler is not capable of moderating the content on the platform. Mind you, it is relatively new and small; it's not like Facebook that has thousands of people able to help moderate." 

Facebook Removes References to Stop the Steal

Also note that Facebook Says It Is Removing All Content Mentioning ‘Stop the Steal’

Facebook Inc. said it is removing all content mentioning “stop the steal,” a phrase popular among supporters of President Trump’s unproven claims of election fraud, as part of a raft of measures to stem misinformation and incitements to violence on its platform ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The announcement was one of a number of new measures announced by tech giants Monday in an effort to deter further unrest after the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last week. Twitter Inc. said it has removed more than 70,000 accounts since Friday that spread the QAnon conspiracy theory, whose followers believe Mr. Trump is under assault by Satan worshipers.

Amazon.com Inc. said aid Monday it is removing some products related to the QAnon conspiracy theory.  Followers of the fringe QAnon conspiracy, which has been labeled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a domestic terrorist threat, were among those that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. 

Amazon is still selling merchandise related to the president. Shopify Inc., a Canada-based e-commerce software provider, last week took down online stores run by the Trump Organization and Trump campaign following the riot.

Convinced? If so, of what?

Where are the lines? Where should they be?

I do not claim to have all the answers and I am troubled where this may potentially head.

Mish

Comments (140)
No. 1-40
Sechel
Sechel

Trump hasn't lost his free speech. he could give a press conference today and the cameras would be there. He could call up Jonathon Swan and he'd have an interview set up for that day. You are correct this is not a free speech issue.

I don't understand why we are combining a fee speech with an anti-trust issue. Sure I'd argue there is excessive concentration of ownership but that's a separate topic. We should not conflate them.

Those saying thi is free speech are either intentionally mis-using the term but are not familiar with the constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It mean the government can't prosecute you, it doesn't mean twitter must host you or that we have to listen to Trump's bullshit.

njbr
njbr

For the right wing...

Youtube

And then, dark web servers are going to be busy.

Expansion of the PRISM program will follow.

Lance Manly
Lance Manly

The anti-trust seems kind of stupid. There are plenty of providers that will provide server space. Take your data and machine images and deploy them somewhere else. I am sure they signed a contract with Amazon's clauses that allow it to determine to cut off the services if they felt it necessary.

As far as Facebook and such, there is that little checkbox that you check when you sign up that links to the terms of service. People should read what they agreed to when they signed up.

Sechel
Sechel

Assuming a replacement to Parler comes along or Parler finds a new host they will have to evolve into a twitter. the companies providing this have legal exposure if they do not. social media isn't a virtual playground where people can act in a laisez faire fashion and say anything such as promoting the hanging of politiicans or plotting sedition.

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

njbr
njbr

A 2019 study, Into the Web of Profit, conducted by Dr. Michael McGuires at the University of Surrey, shows that things have become worse. The number of dark web listings that could harm an enterprise has risen by 20% since 2016. Of all listings (excluding those selling drugs), 60% could potentially harm enterprises.

You can buy credit card numbers, all manner of drugs, guns, counterfeit money, stolen subscription credentials, hacked Netflix accounts and software that helps you break into other people’s computers. Buy login credentials to a $50,000 Bank of America account for $500. Get $3,000 in counterfeit $20 bills for $600. Buy seven prepaid debit cards, each with a $2,500 balance, for $500 (express shipping included). A “lifetime” Netflix premium account goes for $6. You can hire hackers to attack computers for you. You can buy usernames and passwords.

But not everything is illegal, the dark web also has a legitimate side. For example, you can join a chess club or BlackBook, a social network described as the “the Facebook of Tor.”

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

It isn’t a loss of free speech per se.....but loss of what one might call “amplified speech”.....which in my mind is a different thing.

Amplified speech in this day and age of half-truths and fake news and out-and-out lies being perpetuated as truth....is a big problem, in case you haven’t noticed.

Maybe Parler has a case against Amazon....but it won’t matter if they don’t get rapid adjudication. In the short run, I’m willing to let the free speech crowd take their lumps. The right has been abused to no end by Trump and his minions.

I noticed more cancellations including two banks, DB and Signature, cutting ties to Trump. This matters a lot, and I’m glad to see him getting squeezed out of financing. There should be a price to pay for attempting to overthrow the system by means of social media.

I have a strong feeling of chickens coming home to roost, in spite of being in favor of people having a voice.....There is a balance....and the players have some responsibility. I’d like to see the craven hustlers like Alex Jones get their comeuppance too, as long as we’re deplatforming assholes.....just sayin’.

Frilton Miedman
Frilton Miedman

I'm sick of the extreme right pressing constitutional rights to obvious extremes.

No, the 2nd amendment doesn't give criminals, mental patients or terrorists the right to own military assault weapons.

No, the 1rst amendment doesn't give these people the right to plan, promote or threaten to murder or commit acts of sedition.

Carl_R
Carl_R

The suit against Amazon, as I understand it, is based on the fact that their contract required Amazon to give them 30 days notice, and they actually gave notice of about a day. It would be difficult to believe that Amazon could show irreparable harm that would have resulted from allowing Parler to exist another 29 days, so it is possible that Parler could win.

I totally agree that Google and Apple have a right to choose what they will download from their stores. Note that you can download Parler anyway, if you want to. I do not have a Parler account, but had no difficulty in downloading Parler from an independent store. I used one called "ApkPure". Was it safe? I don't know. I did remove ApkPure not long afterwards as it was eating my phone battery for no apparent reason; perhaps it was bitcoin mining?

Also, Amazon can certainly choose who they do business with, as can banks, etc. Yet, it is troubling to me that Big Tech appears to be colluding to prevent competition. As someone who strongly favors free speech, I favor speech being allowed that I don't agree with. I don't want to live in a place like China where "someone" gets to choose what it "true", and nothing else is allowed. Freedom depends on free speech.

Hopefully all this will sort itself out, and Parler can get back on the air. Twitter should have competition. So should Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc. If they provide the best service, and the most enjoyable user experience, they should prosper. If not, they should lose market share.

In the short run, people now seem to be turning to Gab. Gab is another company dedicated to free speech that has been through what Parler is now going through. The lost their hosing service. Credit card companies refused to process their payments, forcing them to go back to actual checks, and to bitcoin for payments. They were originally a browser extension. Google, Apple, and Firefox all banned them. They ended up turning into the Dissenter browser, which, so far as I know, if only available on desktops. Supposedly it allows you to leave comments on related to any website that is not actually on that website, so the owner of the site has no control over it and can't moderate it, with such comments visible only to other Dissenter users. They also have a forum site where people can post. When the site was up briefly, I saw forums related to various religions, and to home schooling, but nothing particularly unusual.

I have tried to access Gab, and the website had vanished as of yesterday, but then one time, I was able to get through long enough to reach a post from the CEO that they are experiencing difficulty because they are adding a million users a day right now.

My best guess is that this will all sort itself out. Gab will boost their capacity, and handle a lot of free speech communication for now, and in time Parler will find a web host, or will build their own. The world will go on.

Sechel
Sechel

Reporting from Axios is that Trump is more upset about losing social media access and the PGA tournament than anything else going on.

Rusty Nail
Rusty Nail

Meanwhile Covid is spreading through Congress following the coup lockdown, where
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry, Texas Rep. Michael Cloud and California Rep. Doug LaMalfa were all captured on video refusing to wear masks in the tightly packed safe area. Can you guess what party they all belong to?

mrutkaus
mrutkaus

Trump who?

KidHorn
KidHorn

This is clearly a political attack against the right. You have to be extremely ignorant to not see it. And you'll see more and more of it once Biden is sworn in. Fox news may be next.

njbr
njbr

Headline on Fox:

Unrestrained Tech Titans Target Conservatives

Which implies that conservatives want:

Restrained tech titans that don't target conservatives.

This is in the name of "freedom of speech".

Rocky Raccoon
Rocky Raccoon

The idiots at Parler turn to their enemy, big tech, to host their new social media Web site rather than take the time to put their code on their own servers--thus their own private property--or with a conservative proven company. Trump did say he loves the uneducated! Now they want big government to infringe upon the private property rights of these corporations.

MI_Hawkeye
MI_Hawkeye

I think we've underestimated Trump again. If you can raise your army to attack the people "in power" without consequences, are they really in power?

FromBrussels
FromBrussels

No president(s) needed ! The FANGS now rule the world, they decide how we live, behave and what we are allowed to say, it is only a matter of time for the Thought Police to even control what we think....The future looks GREAT ! Democracy ?? LOL ! You can kiss that illusion good bye, democracy has been crumbling for years, with C19 and the fraudulent elections dealing the final blow !

bradw2k
bradw2k

Maybe not the largest, but one of the motivations of the providers must be that there is a non-trivial possibility of a bombing, assassination, etc on Jan 20th, and no one wants to be "the platform where the Election Day Massacre was planned."

Doug78
Doug78

Mish, you are right to be worried. Digital Markets and the monopiles it has engendered is relatively new phenomena in human experience and we are only now trying to work through the implications but generally most people on both sides see that something is wrong. It's a complicated subject but essentially these companies have built multi-product ecosystems to lock in customers. That isn't new but when combined with setting up multi-party ecosystems then we are in Trust territory. It gives them the power to snuff out competition. Elon Musk said of Silicon Valley that there are only Sequoias and no undergrowth. Innovation suffers. If it was limited to technology then no big deal but these firms have swept up almost all of the ad revenues that used to support local newspapers, killed them leading to an rapid drop in quality journalism which lead to media adopting business models that divide rather than to build consensus. Hysteria pays and calm analysis does not.

Here is a nice article in Forbes about the Digital Services Act.

Sechel
Sechel

The idea that Trump has learned his lesson like the boy who put his hands on a hot stove is farsical. Here he is today making at what is more than a veiled threat

njbr
njbr

The whole issue of "free" alternative social media is money.

Your data revealed on line is their income. Your purchasing tied to the on-line advertising is their income.

Now I can see the DOJ and DHS paying for that data, but where is the bedrock group of buyers for the data and the retailers for the advertising sales?

Parler was moving toward being a pornography retailer.

Is that a realistic way forward for "christian conservative right-wingers"?

davebarnes2
davebarnes2

I don't understand why Fat Donnie cannot do what I do when I get banned.
Just come back with a different handle.

LawrenceBird
LawrenceBird

Parler violated the AWS terms of service. They can cry all they want but can't get around that fact. Same goes for Google Play and Apple. This is not about free speech, it is about free association and those in the Orange camp want to crush free association to their own ends.

LawrenceBird
LawrenceBird

FYI - F-Droid exists for the Android platform for those who do not want to use Google Play. Yes, it involves a bit more effort up front. Apple is the truly closed eco system.

End of day though - nobody is forcing you to use a smart phone, chat apps, etc. Get a flip phone and text your friends. You'll probably have more free time too.

PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

“Where are the lines? Where should they be?”

I think the line is at calls for violence and hate speech. If Adolf Hitler were alive today and used his twitter account to call for the extermination of jews would that be acceptable?

Trump has been doing exactly that except substitute “jews” with “democrats” and ironically “mike pence” but people are outraged Trump and Parler get shutdown?

From what I read, Parler seems to be a cesspool of that type of language and they should have been kicked off Amazon, Google, Apple, etc.

As a person that hires a whole lot of people, if I see you on Parler and Gab, I am going to assume you are a right wing bigot/racist and not hire you at all or do business with you. Evidently many banks, tech and others wont be doing business with you either.

Mandelabra
Mandelabra

Slow news day? Anthing moving the markets?

Jmurr
Jmurr

It is a free speech issue. I along with many users used Parler and never threatened anybody. It is one thing if Twitter shutdowns a user. It has that right. This was a group of massive companies that conspired to destroy another. Sounds a lot like Standard Oil’s practices.

Corvinus
Corvinus

Same old story, cheer when they censor people you hate; complain when they eventually turn their censors on you. Twitter is as much a hotbed of hatred and incitement to violence as Parler except that when advocating violence against the right or America in general it's mostly fine.

Anyone with integrity should be concerned about the implications of this kind of censorship. Yeah it's fine to cite the text of the first amendment and say 'well it's not government passing a law' or defend the corporate tech oligarchy by saying "well it's their platform" but that is a myopic view IMO.

njbr
njbr

Talk to your neighbors. Get a bullhorn and yell at your neigbors. Get on a stepstool on the corner and talk to everyone that goes by. Make your phone calls. Set up a phone tree. Did you know that you can phone multiple peole at once? Text. Send out mass texts. Zoom meetings. You can have massive zoom meetings. Set up your own radio station or tv network. Broadcast to all who care to tune in. Join darkweb and whatever group that floats your boat.

Ohhh, but twitter doesn't like it when I say "Hang Pence" or "shoot Pelosi". Are you serious?

And you're the guys that are tyring to make social media more responsible by taking away section 230 protections?

Dumb and lazy.

Mish
Mish

Editor

"Note that you can download Parler anyway,"

False

The Apps are turned off and thousands of people are accidentally downloading "ParlOr" not "ParlEr"

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Why aren't any of these Trumpists smart enough to have a Trump supporter create their own brand of products from the ground up along with App store ?

Agave
Agave

The next seven days may be harrowing. There is a theory out there that trump wants his sedition militia who plan to surround the Capitol and state capitols with armed vigilantes (maybe more of the ex military types too than at the Jan 6 insurrection) on Jan 17-20 to create violence and chaos so he can call an emergency and nationalize the national guard troops that are being placed to defend these places and people in them. Then who knows what he'd do next.

Normally states control the national guard (except for DC's), but if martial law or the Insurrection Act are declared and he does that, this madman will tear the country apart, more than he has already. The sedition is thick in the air, and there is one person most responsible for it. I want none of this to happen, but if it does, the punishment must be severe.

Sounds crazy, I agree, but few expected Jan 6 to go that far either.

Bankster
Bankster

Amazon found 98 instances of violent comments that violated their policy. Some were taken down by Parler before Amazon notified the company. The remaining were all taken down by Parler. Note that Parler, like other social media, screen comments after they are posted and so the best you can hope for is for them to get taken down later, not to never show up. Amazon says this wasn't good enough, so I have a few questions:

  1. Why wasn't it good enough if Parler was responsive and removed the comments.
  2. Why 98? Why is this the magical number and is it documented that 98 and you're out?
  3. Facebook, Twitter and others are well known for having violent posts; some of which were never removed. Where is the documentation showing that Amazon enforces the 98 post rule with others?
Webej
Webej

There is already a House report ascertaining anti-competitive behavior.
This is obviously the collusive wholesale elimination of the competition: the literal texts are as usual just pretexts.

The question is not so much about the limits to free speech, it is about who owns and controls the (new digital) public square and who is in charge of the bullhorns.

The people now cheering on the new authoritarianism of the Corporate/Agency collaboration to control the narrative do not realize that the stakes are not some passing disturbance, but the future of public discourse in its entirety.

vanderlyn
vanderlyn

he'll be rush l. replacement.